It’s obvious that Olympic sponsors at all levels make a huge investment in their affiliation with the Olympics and that they focus intense efforts on realizing the maximum gain possible during the Games themselves.
The very large global sponsors such as Coke, GE, Samsung, McDonalds and others have exhibition facilities located in the Olympic Green in Beijing. This is a gigantic park south of the Olympic Village where the Bird’s Nest, Water Cube and other competition venues are located. I’ve walked through the Green several days and found it practically deserted. I’m hearing lots of grumbling among sponsors that BOCOG’s policy of restricting admission to the Green to those with credentials or holding tickets to events within the Green is severely limiting visits to their expensive public exhibits.
Many sponsors also operate hospitality facilities in Beijing. Besides the one I’ve described that USACK Sponsor Bank of America operates for athletes’ friends and families, another one that I’ve been able to visit is operated by another USACK sponsor Nike.
The Nike Athlete Hospitality Center is located inside a large sports center in the business section of Beijing, just east of Tiananmen Square. Here Nike welcomes its sponsored athletes and teams, with large spaces for playing and relaxing. Lunch so served each day prepared by an Italian chef and crew that so impressed Nike in Torino two years ago that they brought them to Beijing.
Nike is the provider of all USACK team uniforms and supplied the competition gear being worn by both our sprint and slalom athletes in Beijing. Nike also sponsors four of our USACK athletes individually, Brett Heyl, Benn Fraker, Rami Zur and Carrie Johnson.
Another consistent sponsor of USACK events is Anheuser Busch. They operate a vey popular spot in being called the Club Bud. This is a huge party facility that I understand will hold over 2000 people. I’ve been by it a few times, but I guess I’ll have to wait until we win a medal to go in and partake of the A-B hospitality.